Anyone who has been following the cannabis legalization movement over the past several years knows by now that legal weed can be a salvation’s wing for local and state economies. Not only that, but it is an enormous job creator, so if you’re a healthy person starving in any area where pot is being sold at the retail level, well, you’re probably just not trying very hard to get off the couch and look for work.
But while most legal states experience an uptick in job creation to the tune of tens of thousands, some greatly surpass those numbers and enter the realm of the extreme. These are the states where it is actually realistic to expect hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come down the line through the growing and selling of legal marijuana. And if there is one part of the country that is set up to bring mega-employment to the people, it’s Florida. The only snag is the state must first rise up and legalize for recreational use in the 2020 election. And that could prove challenging.
A recent report from market research firm New Frontier Data shows the production of cannabis could spawn right around 128,587 new jobs in the Sunshine State by 2025. To put that into perspective, there are presently a little more than 16,000 people employed by the state’s medical marijuana sector.
Such radical job growth, the study suggests, is contingent on whether the federal government is finally ready to end prohibition at the national level. But still, the state could find itself well on its way to employing beaucoups of people if advocates can get marijuana legalization pushed through next year. The chances of that happening really depend on the efforts of two organizations.
Either Make It Legal Florida or Regulate Florida is going to be who helps bring legal weed to the state next year. But when taking a closer look, Make It Legal Florida seems to have the best shot at making a taxed and regulated pot market a reality. This is mostly because the group has gained the most substantial financial support for the cause. And as we’ve learned throughout the years, ballot initiatives, those where the voice of the voter is necessary to change the law, are costly to run. Some of the latest predictions shows that it could take $10-15 million to get a recreational marijuana law on the books in Florida next year. And as of now, Make It Legal Florida has an admirable bankroll to get things moving in the right direction. As of September, it has collected $1.1 million.
But it’s not just about which group can secure the most money that will determine if Florida is going legal soon. Signature collecting is also a crucial piece of the puzzle. Right now, both groups are doing exceptionally well at drumming up support for their initiatives. Make It Legal Florida reportedly collected an impressive 100,000 signatures within the first 20 days of its campaign. Regulate Florida just revealed at the end of summer that it had 77,000 signatures ready to plop down in front of the big guns in the capital. All either one of these organizations needs is 76,632 verified signatures to get the language of their initiatives reviewed by the state Supreme Court. So, one way or another, Floridians are probably going to get a chance to cast their vote for legal weed in 2020.
Or will they?
Let’s just say that time is of the essence concerning just how likely it is that a marijuana initiative will be on the ballot next year. If their language is approved, the groups must then present 766,200 verified signatures by February to secure a spot in the general election. That means within the next three months, Make It Legal Florida and Regulate Florida will need to kick their campaigns into high gear as to not miss an opportunity. Getting these types of initiatives on ballots in a presidential election has proven more successful than when they are offered up in any other race. So if the state, which approved medical marijuana by way of voter initiative in 2016, expects to see any significant job growth in the coming years, it is do-or-die time for both campaigns.
But don’t worry, it is highly likely that as long as the question of marijuana legalization makes it on the ballot, it will get pushed through. Some of the latest polls indicate that 65% of Floridians support allowing adults 21 and over to have legal access. According to Florida rules, all an initiative has to do is clear 60% of the vote, and the issue becomes law. So, as long as cannabis advocates can meet the signature count ahead of the February deadline, chances are looking good that Florida will become one of the next states to end prohibition. If not in 2020, it could be another four years before the voters are primed for this type of reform again. In other words, it’s time to giddy up!
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